REHEARSED TO DEATH
“Here he is!” Margot bounded in through a door in the far corner
of the garage, cradling in her arms the little puppy with the purple
collar whose image we’d only ever seen in a single photo. “Guys, this
She bent down and released the terrier. He scurried across the
concrete floor and made his way over to me. In person, Jack, aka
Jackson Russell, didn’t look exactly like our Clyde. Not only was his
fur longer, it also had a totally different texture. Clyde’s coat we often
compared to that of a slick sea lion. Jack’s hair was coarse and wiry.
But the markings were very similar, in terms of their color and placement.
Clyde’s tail also had a good six inches in length on Jackson’s
stub, which frantically wiggled to and fro as he gazed up at me.
Acting as if I were his best friend ever, the small dog stood on his
long hind legs and buried his little black nose against my knee. This
vertical posture wasn’t something we’d ever seen from Clyde, so it
took me by surprise.
“As you can see,” Margot said, “he’s super friendly.”
Sadly, he was also super scrawny. The puppy couldn’t have been
more than fourteen pounds. It made me worry he was malnourished
by his previous owner, maybe. If I tried, I could’ve counted his ribs.
Jack hooked his two front paws over my forearm and held on.
His mouth fell open in a happy puppy grin, his pink tongue sticking
out as he panted. His tiny teeth were pointy and sharp. He had a
slight underbite on bottom, while the pair of canines on top gave him
a vampire-like appearance befitting to the moniker Count Jackula.
Upon closer inspection, I noticed a small notch on the back of both
long teeth, no bigger than a few centimeters.
Margot took notice of me noticing this peculiar dental detail.
“We’re guessing he was kept in a crate. He probably bit at the wire
cage, trying to pull the door open to get out.”
“Poor little guy,” I said, patting the pup’s fuzzy head. Compared
to Clyde’s rock-solid melon, Jack’s tiny noggin fit right in the palm
of my hand. “We won’t lock you up, I promise.”